'8 Kindes of Drunkennes': Behold, the 16th-Century Listicle

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Think the listicle is an Internet phenomenon? Thomas Nashe would beg to differ. 

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Is there, truly, a better journalistic form than the listicle? A list that is also an article: What could be more elegant? What could be more pure?

For all of its obvious awesomeness, however, we tend to think of the listicle as a quintessentially contemporary phenomenon -- of the Internet, by the Internet, etc. But to think that is to be wrong: The listicle, it turns out, is a time-honored form, one that is at least as old as printing itself. (Listicle, n., compound of the German leiste, n., meaning "border, edging"; ick, v., from the Mid. English for "click"; and ull, n., Gaelic for "bait.")

Take, as one wondrous example, the specimen below -- a Thomas Nashe creation from 1592 that, minus a few excess vowels, would be right at home on the pages of Buzzfeed.

Or, you know, Buzzefeede.

THE EIGHT KINDES OF DRUNKENNES

The first is ape drunke; and he leapes, and singes, and hollowes, and danceth for the heavens;

The second is lion drunke; and he flings the pots about the house, calls his hostesse whore, breakes the glasse windowes with his dagger, and is apt to quarrell with anie man that speaks to him;

The third is swine drunke; heavie, lumpish, and sleepie, and cries for a little more drinke, and a fewe more cloathes;

The fourth is sheepe drunk; wise in his conceipt, when he cannot bring foorth a right word;

The fifth is mawdlen drunke; when a fellowe will weepe for kindnes in the midst of ale, and kisse you, saying, "By God, captaine, I love thee. Goe thy wayes; thou dost not thinke so often of me as I doo thee; I would (if it pleased God) I could not love thee as well as I doo;" and then he puts his finger in his eye, and cryes;

The sixt is Martin drunke; when a man is drunke, and drinkes himselfe sober ere he stirre;

The seventh is goate drunke; when, in his drunkennes, he hath no minde but on lecherie;

The eighth is fox drunke--when he is craftie drunke, as manie of the Dutchmen bee, that will never bargaine but when they are drunke.


Image: Archive.org. Via: Lists of Note.

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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